Is it still worth splurging on expensive makeup?

Every makeup beginner starts with the cheapest possible products and moves up to pricier ones as their skills and taste develop. But is there really a reason to splurge on high-end makeup? Is it just status or is it more affordable in the long run to spend now?

A few years ago the answer would have been obvious: the pricier a product is, the better it is likely to perform. Brands like Estee Lauder, Lancome, Chanel, Shiseido, MAC etc. had a monopoly on the latest cosmetic technologies. These days though it is not as clear cut as it used to be. As more of these brands move their factories to Asia, cheaper brands are able to catch up quicker with the latest breakthroughs. 

The body of knowledge on cosmetics formulation, manufacturing, and distribution is now more accessible. The Internet provides and explains; it serves as this massive focus group that provides existing and would-be brands insight on what the consumer wants. It also connects any person with an idea to any factory capable of making such an idea real - just go to Alibaba. Anyone with a burning interest in cosmetics and some capital can now jump in and make (or head) his or her own line of products. Is it going to be super good? Maybe, maybe not. But there is always a chance that it might blow everything before it out of the water. Think Colourpop!

More expensive brands are now barely ahead of drugstore brands in terms of quality. There is some amount of control as both high and low-end brands tend to belong under umbrella companies (for example L’Oreal owns both NYX and Giorgio Armani, Shiseido owns both Majolica Majorca and NARS), but now the question comes down to how much you are willing to pay for makeup. The quality will be there, no matter what your answer is. It’s not going to be as exceptional as the more expensive alternative, but the gap is negligible.

Of course, some of us would want to pay more for the status and the packaging. High-end brands also have colors and textures that set the trend; as with clothes, designer makeup tend to have covetable items simply because few people have it - at first. These trends eventually filter down so if you don’t mind waiting a bit, you’re bound to see them in your favorite drugstore brand.

I’m not saying that you should never buy expensive makeup. I love brands that are consistent and dependable. In my experience, pricier ones do deliver better products that are more pleasurable to use. But drugstore brands are catching up and consumers are smarter today compared to just five years ago. We have the power to dictate price and quality now more than ever.

What do you think?